Monday, April 25, 2011

God's Provision: Our Home Story, Part 1

I have been intending to share this story of our home-buying experience  for weeks now.  I think it will be a wonderful story for my children to look back on and I pray it will be an inspiration  and testimony of God's greatness to someone else.  However, as I tend to be long winded and it was such a daunting task,  I decided to wait ...until this last intensive week of moving. Makes sense, right?  (In my defense, writing is a stress reliever for me.)  

Disclaimer:  I said I was long-winded so be prepared for a few "To be continued-s."  

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The path to owning our first home could only be described as a journey.  The journey was winding and long, discouraging and thrilling with multiple starts and stops.  When we began, we could not have imagined the end results or what it took to get there. 

May 2009
Our story began in April of 2009.  We had started to outgrow our 3-bedroom townhouse.  Our four kids were six, four, two and seven months old.  Our smallest bedroom was serving as a storage room so we had three kids in a mid-sized bedroom and the baby (Benjamin) shared a room with us.  We didn’t feel financially ready to buy a home, but we knew we needed something bigger so we began a tentative search for homes online.  We found one that seemed reasonably priced with enough space on a quiet street with a small yard where the kids could play.  During our Saturday wanderings that week, we decided to drive by since the house was unoccupied.  When we pulled up in front of the house, we noticed a car was already parked in the driveway.

May 2009
A quick walk-through of the house was real eye-opener. It had no heating system whatsoever and was not even built according to code, but the experience introduced us to our real estate agent, Sharon (whose car was parked in the driveway).  In the kitchen of this wreck of a house, she took the time to find out what we were looking for, how many bedrooms we needed, and asked our price range.  

Over the months, we narrowed down what was important to us in a home.  When we began, we thought we knew what we wanted, but walking through house after house after house helped us determine what would work for us.  We needed at least three bedrooms—a master bedroom, a boys’ room, and girls’ room.  We needed a separate dining room or a large dining area to hold our large table.  We wanted a house out of town with its own well and septic.  We wanted a home with a yard for the kids to play.  It didn’t have to be huge, but we wanted them to have room to move. 

The problem was we only felt comfortable paying a certain amount per month for our mortgage.  We were pre-approved for a bigger loan, but we didn’t want to take it.  This self-imposed price range made our search difficult because most of the homes we looked at were either too small or in terrible condition.  Imagine homes with broken windows, no appliances, birds’ nests in the eaves (or dead birds in the corner), holes in the walls, or words painted on the doorposts.  We saw it all.  We learned that pictures on the internet are no indication of the actual condition of a property.  Photographers have quite a way of finding the angle that eliminates the ugly parts of a room.  If by chance, a well-maintained home at a reasonable price came through the system, it usually got snatched up before we had a moment to go see it. 

October 2009
We became so discouraged that periodically, we stopped house hunting altogether.  The car Brian was using to drive back and forth to work was on its last leg and he had the opportunity to buy a used truck at a fabulous price in October 2009.  We paid cash to avoid a car payment, but that cut into our savings.  We kept pinching pennies and kept putting money slowly back into our account, but we learned to make do with our current home and figured out ways to make the space work for us.

It was hard when we would get our hopes up.  Sometimes a house would make us too excited.  We’d find it in the newspaper and talk about its potential.  We’d drool over the pictures or the square footage or the fenced-in yard.  Sometimes just walking onto the property was enough to dash our hopes.  Other times, we’d still be in love after a walk-through, but the price would be just a bit out of range or the home needed a tad too much work.  Still other times, the home would go under contract right as we prepared to make an offer.  Emotionally, it began to take its toll.  We began to pray that the Lord would make it very clear to us—that if a home was not for us, there would be a clear no and if it was for us, there would be no mistaking it. 

Part 2 
Part 3
The Conclusion


  1. Me too! :-D
    Really...I'm sure that there are details that we've missed in all the happenings. (For example...I don't remember hearing about the dead bird. Surely I wouldn't forget that!)

  2. Actually, there were dead birds at two different houses!



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